Workers file federal charges against union and hotel for pact to assist union organizers during coercive “card check” union organizing drive
Boston, MA (December 12, 2019) – Four Boston housekeepers have filed federal unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against their employer Yotel Boston and the UNITE HERE Local 26 union with free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. The employees’ NLRB charges allege UNITE HERE union officials violated federal law by imposing union representation on workers through a coercive “card check” drive with their employer’s assistance.
Housekeepers Cindy J. Alarcon Vasquez, Lady Laura Javier, Yestca Perez Barrios, and Danela Guzman charge that Yotel Boston provided UNITE HERE’s organizing campaign with more than “ministerial aid” and recognized the union as the employees’ exclusive representative in the workplace even though union officials had not demonstrated that an untainted majority of workers support the union. The workers contend that by doing so Yotel Boston and UNITE HERE officials violated their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
The NLRB has long held that an employer taints employees’ efforts to remove a union if it gives those employees support such as a list of bargaining unit employees or use of company resources. The workers here argue that Yotel Boston similarly tainted the union’s organizing campaign by providing to UNITE HERE union organizers assistance amounting to more than “ministerial aid.”
These charges were filed just weeks after NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb, the Board’s top prosecutor, ordered NLRB Region 19 to prosecute Embassy Suites and the UNITE HERE Local 8 union for similarly assisting UNITE HERE in foisting the union on that hotel’s workers through a card check. Granting an appeal by Seattle housekeeper Gladys Bryant, the General Counsel found that the union’s “card check” recognition was tainted because Bryant’s employer, Embassy Suites, provided significant aid to the union officials’ organizing efforts through their “neutrality agreement” in violation of the NLRA.
Bryant’s appeal successfully argued that the “ministerial aid” standard must also apply when an employer aids union officials’ efforts to gain monopoly bargaining power over workers. Thus, the General Counsel’s ruling applied the “ministerial aid” standard consistently, no matter whether the employer’s assistance favors or opposes unionization.
“It is long past time that the National Labor Relations Board ended its double standard that helps union bosses abuse workers’ rights through coercive card check unionization drives,” said National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “The General Counsel correctly recognized recently that what qualifies as more than ‘ministerial assistance and support,’ and thus violates the National Labor Relations Act, cannot depend on whether the employer is helping outside union organizers impose unionization on workers or assisting workers in exercising their right to remove an unwanted union.”
“This case shows that union bosses are not only willing to manipulate and ignore the rights of the workers they claim they want to ‘represent,’ but that their coercion has gone unchecked for far too long because of double standards in how the NLRB has interpreted the law,” Mix added.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in around 250 cases nationwide per year.